Somerville and Cambridge are celebrating the return of live music with an all-local music festival on Saturday nicely titled Nice, A Fest. “It’s just like, ‘Nice we’re having a festival’ or ‘Nice we can start over,’ said Alex Pickert, who organized and booked the event for Once Somerville at his new Boynton Yards, 101 South St. , in Somerville near Inman Square. The name reflects Pickert’s desire to host something with a friendly, relaxed vibe. “We have such an impressive local arts community. I just wanted to bring out my favorite bands, invite friends over and finally hear them live again.
The lineup boasts an impressive roster of up-and-coming Boston-area musicians, some performing live for the first time and many celebrating a return to live music as much, if not more, than you. “I know the emotions are going to be strong. A lot of these artists are going to be excited to finally be able to perform live again, ”said Pickert.
The music will be accompanied by various local vendors, including Watertown’s Wanna Hear it Records selling vinyl and Guerilla Cowboy, an independent woman-owned art and clothing store. Food will be served by the likes of Bombay Brunch. Beer and wine will be served at Once’s Container Bar. Doors open at noon, music starts at 1 p.m. and continues until midnight, with fixed times displayed on the day of the event. Tickets cost $ 20. Pleasant!
It is a unique opportunity to get to know local artists and to rub shoulders with music and art lovers in the neighborhood. Here are the acts you can expect to catch.
Really are a group of four Berklee graduates (Chris Lee-Rodriguez, Michi Tassey, Matt Hull and Sander Bryce) whose music is ever-changing and hard to categorize. On their latest eponymous project, they shoot everything from post-punk, indie and jazz fusion to electronica and emo. The album, which was released this year, is a lush and meticulously orchestrated exploration of place, identity and race, born out of feelings sparked by the question “Where are you really from?” Each track brings something new, from the groovy synths and soaring trumpets at the back of “Apartment Song” to the powerful chords and anguished vocals on “I’m From Here”. It will be a treat to hear these new songs performed live.
The infinity ring has a unique yet oddly familiar Gothic approach to folk music. The spoken, almost whispered voices evoke a brooding, downcast and oppressed Leonard Cohen. “Remind me what it is to love, Remind me what it is to last,” plead the lyrics on “Gift of Love” and “Temptress” haunts with its images of hollow bodies from within , knives, rotten fruit, leeches and the refrain “Passing through the mother and the womb, then come and see that I am all yours and that you are all mine. They are backed up by rousing acoustic guitars, hand percussion and the moan of a distant, grieving violin that sends otherworldly chills down your spine.
First passionate frisbee club is a new independent project from underground rap phenomenon Dev Bee (aka Pink Navel). His demos are reminiscent of Daniel Johnston with their stripped-down acoustic instrumentals featuring what sounds like a Casio toy keyboard and a rickety, childish voice. Dev sings with raw emotion what they learned at summer camp, Roger Rabbit and Data Transport. They’ve always been one of the most creative and underrated local rap groups out there, and seeing them step into this new musical space will be an honor.
Jesus the dinosaur rooms lo-fi indie folk like a warm embrace that lingers long after the end. Heavy bass lines and a bonfire acoustic guitar accompany a smooth, harmonized voice. On “Cigarettes” he sings about his mother’s depression and how he found his cigarettes in the bathroom and threw them down the drain. On “Windowsill”, he remembers his childhood bunk bed and listening to Harry Potter on tape with the velcro player on the slats before falling asleep. These simple stories and the confessional tone with which they are told are extremely endearing, a perfect reminder of beauty in simplicity.
Bowling shoes play indie-garage rock that seamlessly switches between thoughtful verses and powerful choruses. Their hit “Portland” is a perfect encapsulation: it’s about saying “it’s okay” and making the long trip to the eponymous city to escape a spiral descent into typical bad habits. The vocals synchronize rhythmically with a brave and relaxed electric guitar until it all ends with fiery riffs and a drummer goes crazy throughout the set. Get ready to dance when these boys take the stage.
Pet fox balances pop sensitivities with a tendency to get loud and distorted. Sometimes it sounds as shoegazey as My Bloody Valentine, other times as clear and catchy as an early MGMT song. Listening to Pet Fox keeps you on the edge of your seat; you can never be sure it won’t burst into a euphoric cacophony of loud, washed-out guitar like at the end of “Take Note” or during the chorus of “Imagine Why”. I can’t wait to damage my hearing during the set.
Shallow pools serve female-led fetish pop reminiscent of the ’80s. Their tracks feature soaring synths and catchy drums that will rock Camberville.
Mercet is a side project of former Really From band member Sai, who decided during the pandemic to hide in his home studio and create meditative and organic electronics. Sometimes his music is ambient and ethereal, at others it is rhythmic and it’s always beautiful. It will be his first time live under the name of Mercet.
Lady Pills is a three-part indie rock band that also came out of Berklee. Their music is characterized by the distinct, elastic and emotional lead vocal of Ella Boissonnault, whose delivery and lyrics are delightfully rebellious and dry. “I don’t want another invitation to another one of your pity parties.” They’re boring, ”she sings on“ Daddy Warbucks ”.
Green mint embodies a contemporary Hayley Williams, a summery indie pop that is both melodramatic and cheerfully upbeat.
Kira McSpice is not for the faint of heart, and certainly stands out in this crowd. His noise rock is heavily oppressive, muddy and heartbreaking, with voices constantly oscillating between angelic cries and cries of nails on chalk. Will Ponturo almost sounds like he’s beating his guitar rather than playing it – in a good way. The sounds the two make together could come straight from the underworld, and they’re perfectly complemented by Jack Whelan, who is simply crying on his drums.